Manziel’s NFL Future Further Clouded by Indictment

manzielJohnny Manziel was once college football’s top player and best quarterback. He also was the winner of the Heisman Trophy. To further add to his accolades, he was the first round draft pick by the Browns in 2014. However, after a tumultuous performance with the Browns Manziel was finally released from the team and was desperately searching for a new job.

In this time period, it appears that Manziel had problems at home when he was arrested for a family violence incident. The Dallas prosecutor’s office charged him with a misdemeanor level case for assault related to family violence. The case apparently deals with problems Mansfield experienced with his ex-girlfriend earlier in 2016.

Last Thursday the grand jury hearing the case decided to indictment Manziel. Apparently they were convinced that there was some truth to the accusation that Manziel punched his ex-girlfriend at a Dallas hotel. His ex-girlfriend, now the victim, claims that Manziel hit her so hard that it ruptured an eardrum. She further states that Mansfield made her get into a car and took her to the nearby city of Fort Worth, Texas. anziel’s attorneys have already stated that his their client plans on pleading not guilty to the charges. Manziel’s attorneys stated that the grand jury has heard only one version of the case; that which the district attorney decided to share with them in a private setting. His attorneys expressed confidence that the case would be resolved in Manziel’s favor once it is taken to the courthouse.

A criminal lawyer in the Sacramento area helped explain how grand jury proceedings function. Essentially the prosecution will bring a case of interest to a grand jury to help them decide whether or not to bring criminal charges against the defendant. The grand jury is usually reserved for cases that are of high importance or serious criminal activity. A grand jury is comprised of 16 to 23 people which is a stark difference from the six or 12 that are usually placed on a normal jury. Grand juries are used in place of preliminary hearings depending on the jurisdictions rules and laws. The main difference between a grand jury a preliminary hearing is that the preliminary hearing is an open proceeding while the grand jury takes place in private. The defendant, his or her attorney, and the defense evidence is not available to those involved in a  grand jury proceeding.

Furthermore grand jury proceedings are fairly relaxed as far as evidence and procedure goes. There are no judges preside over the hearing and the only lawyer present is the prosecutor for the District Attorney’s Office. The prosecutor takes on the dual role of presenting evidence to explain the law to the grand jury. The grand jury generally has great leeway to view evidence and how they would like to consider it in their decision to issue an indictment.

Interestingly there does not need to be a unanimous decision for an indictment. One requirement, however, is that they do achieve a super majority for an indictment. When the grand jury does not issue an indictment, the prosecution can still attempt to bring charges against a defendant at a preliminary hearing. Since the case to the grand jury is so relaxed, and gives great deference to the prosecutor, it’s no surprise that Manziel was indicted in this case. His attorneys could be correct that once he said his story is presented the case will not seem so strong.


Either way, Manziel’s NFL future seems to be bleak. This case appears to have put the final nail in the coffin for Manziel’s comeback.

Brady’s Other Chance at Redemption: The Handoff to Peterson

petersonWe’re taking another look at the Tom Brady situation as it could be impacted by a decision made for another player: Adrian Peterson. As we discussed previously, Brady’s only chance to have his case reconsidered is to convince the Second Circuit Court to hear his case en bank. However there may be another route for Brady that involves Peterson’s case.

Peterson’s case is currently before the Eighth Circuit and it deals with a similar suspension issue. If the Eighth Circuit decides in a manner that is contrary to what the Second Circuit has done, that may open up the door to both cases being heard by the Supreme Court.

Whenever there is a split between Circuit Courts, there is a contradiction in the way federal law is being adjudicated. Usually when these types of cases arise, the Supreme Court will step in and try to resolve the conflicts so that everything there after is decided in unison. The necessity to achieve uniformity and federal law is a more definite avenue for Brady’s case to the Supreme Court.

Getting Brady’s case to go forth in this manner is not as easy at all. A lot will depend on how Adrian Peterson’s case is decided and what issues are dealt with. However there is a glimpse of hope for Brady if for some reason he cannot get his case heard by the en banc 2nd Circuit Court.

Argentina: Sports Law in the Criminal Context

stadiumThe country of Argentina is issuing a new sports related law aimed at reducing violence at soccer matches. The law arises in the wake of one of Argentina’s most famous soccer matches the Super- Classico. This came between the Boca juniors and River Plate highlights much of the violence that occurs between rival soccer games on a regular basis. The new law will target criminals directly involved in violence and also those who take part in financial extortion. It will also go after political officials and other authority figures who share connections with the gangs, or “barras.” Argentina has experienced problems with businesses and political officials who surreptitiously support “barras” and also provide financing for their illegal activities.

Unlike the hooligan groups found in Europe, the Argentinian games are much more advanced. The soccer related street gangs are more like mafia style criminal organizations. Their crimes carried over from the soccer field into other aspects of Argentinian life. As mentioned, one of their main types of criminal activity is extortion. The fact that they are able to generate a substantial amount of income from society also means it is harder to target them in criminal sweeps because they are often protected by powerful public figures who want to share in the financial gain obtained by the gangs.

In the past some politicians have even use these gangs as political muscle on the streets to encourage voters to support them. They also have worked for soccer clubs by performing illicit activities that the clubs are unable to carry out on their own. The barras also control the parking situation around the major stadiums and often force fans to pay for parking in lieu of having their cars vandalized while they are inside watching the game.

The business aspect of this these gang wars has often resulted in serious battles which lead to murder. Many of the gang members have been arrested and convicted of murder. In the past some government officials have tried to bar these types of members from the soccer game areas. However, there is often a violent response from the gangs whenever there’s political or law-enforcement pressure placed upon them. Just last month, police attempted to quell a riot brought about by one of the local gangs who became upset because there were no more tickets available for a game. The gang members threw stones and wounded several officers in addition to setting fire to a police car.

In addition to the new law many governments have been trying to ban the presence of visiting fans to reduce violence. It is thought that by removing one team’s fans from the situation, that local gangs will find themselves without an enemy to attack. Although this is this has reduced many incidents, it is still not addressing the deep problem of gang violence Argentina.

Tom Brady Gets Slapped Down by the 2nd Circuit

image of quarterback Tom Brady
Tom Brady in 2013, when he was still innocent!

If you been following the NFL lately, you probably are aware that Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots, has had trouble with the previous deflategate scandal. Brady was actually suspended for four games by the NFL for his participation in the alleged scheme. Brady appealed the decision by the NFL and the case went to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Unfortunately for Brady the Circuit of the Court of Appeals decided that the suspension was valid and it was reinstated on Monday. Most attorneys and legal experts are now saying that Brady is probably out of options if he decides to appeal again.

Brady’s chances at finding the suspension may not live in another appeal, but rather in a suspension of the sentence. It is possible that he can ask the court to stay the suspension while his team of lawyers tries to pursue an attack in an “en banc” session (i.e. a full panel of judges) from the Second Circuit. What this basically means is that Brady would be asking that all the judges from the Second Circuit review decision, rather than just the three that were in the session originally. In order to do this the majority of the judges in this court would have to agree to hear the case together. This is probably unlikely. Most of the courts especially the Second Circuit rarely decides to hear cases like this in an en banc session.

Another problem that he faces is that even if the en banc session is granted most federal courts are pretty tough on arbitration cases. Courts usually defer to the agency involved, in this case the NFL, and believe that it’s not the court’s job to dictate how the rules and regulations of the NFL should be applied. Because of this it is likely that the ruling recently issued on Monday will be the final say in Brady’s case.

Most agree that the NFL players Association will try to do some sort of a appeal for this case. Lawyers for the NFL players union are still trying to decide how they’re going to go about this. Some have stated that they will only go forward if Brady agrees to do it. The players’ union lawyers may be interested in seeking an appeal because there was dissent in the case by Justice Katzman. Katzman felt that NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell overstepped his authority in issuing the suspension against Brady. The judge obviously felt that suspension was unfounded and had no precedent.

If an appeal is to be done it will have to be done quickly. Brady will have to file a request within two weeks from the decision date. Then he will have to wait for the judges to decide whether or not they want to hear the case. Some people believe that Katzman’s prominent role in the court will influence other judges to look at his dissent and take interest in the case. Whether Katzman’s involvement will have this effect on other members of the court still waits to be seen.

Brady could also take the case of the US Supreme Court. However it is unlikely that the court would have any interest here in this case. The US Supreme Court receives over 7000 petitions for cases each year. It is unlikely they have the time or the desire to get burdened down by this type of case.

It’s obvious that this case is very important to Tom Brady and the players union. However to the greater society it’s really not anything important. Because of this the US Supreme Court will probably not decide to hear this case. The Supreme Court usually gets involved in cases when there’s a huge controversy that divides the nation in someway. Most people are just not that interested in whether Brady plays an entire season or not. I think we can assume that this case will end exactly where it is right now.